Employees are a company’s biggest asset. It is through a culture of three C’s - communication, commitment and collaboration that a company can show support to its employees in uncertain times. Changes could be afoot due to economic instability, political turmoil or reorganisation within a company. The question of how leaders can still keep employees engaged and productive will be raised.
During uncertain times, your employees will be concerned about their career and if their job is secure or not. Therefore, they may not be as productive and focused as usual.
Here are a few things you can do to take a negative situation and make something positive from it:
Address your employees directly instead of avoiding the topic of change. Listen to their concerns and show compassion to how they are feeling. If they are anxious, acknowledge their fears and see how you can create a balance between their demands and your company’s needs. If you have a long-term strategy in place, you will not be leading from a position of panic, but from a place of confidence. Ignoring people’s concerns and emotions will only create more uncertainty and will act as an excuse for employees to not care about the company. Show them you care and they will care in return. It’s a two-way street – be compassionate and the employees will do the same.
Tell them what you would like them to do. Explain and communicate properly where performance expectations remain the same, or if the goals/targets have changed ensure they are aware of this. You might give them flexibility in their work schedule but with clearly defined targets to achieve so they can deliver results while not feeling detached from the company during uncertain times. This will also help them stay grounded because it will develop a shared sense of purpose. It will also re-affirm to your employees that you take care of their needs too such as flexible hours, and not just about your company’s profits. Increasing your employees’ sense of control over their work schedule will help normalize stress among them and they will stay loyal to the company.
Working as a team not only boosts the performance of employees but also brings better results in terms of profits for the company. Therefore, encouraging teamwork can not only lighten the burden on one employee but also results in better project management. Collaboration is key to successful workplace culture, especially in times of change. It builds togetherness and unity and a shared desire to succeed and achieve goals, rather than working in silos. A feeling of belonging can effectively boost employees’ morale and motivation to deliver their best every day even in times of insecurity and uncertainty.
During uneasy and turbulent times, the strength of an organization lies in the hands of strong leaders. A great leader spends time coaching them, rather than dictating to them. An effective leader nurtures them by empowering his/her employees and delegating decision making powers to a certain extent to his/her employees. When the employees have the authority and power to make decisions, be it on project level or admin level, they feel motivated. They think of themselves, not as a cog in the machine but an important part of their company who can bring positive results. Therefore, great leaders focus on creating a nurturing environment to let employees reach their full potential.
Create positive energy among your employees by praising them where it’s due. Do not ignore their efforts and hard work. Make your praise specific and do it in front of their team, to show that you are proud of their work and that they are making a valuable contribution to the company. Praising will inspire others in the team to work better too. Your employees will feel positive knowing that their work is being recognized.
Follow the aforementioned 5 steps to lead your employees and company for success in difficult times.